A Look Back at the Chevy Blazer

February 14th, 2020 by

A red 2020 Chevy Blazer, which is a popular option among Chevy SUVs, is driving past blurred buildings near Albany, NY.

There’s a lot of history in some of the model names used at Chevy: the Suburban, Corvette, Camaro, and so on. The Chevy Blazer is one of them. Brought back from the dead with the 2018 model year, the SUV now competes in the mid-size crossover SUV segment. With three engine options and two available drivetrains, the Chevy Blazer has gone through a rather dramatic evolution. To understand the new Chevy Blazer after a 14-year hiatus, you need to take a look back at the Chevy Blazer and its own history. Because while this is just one of the many Chevy SUVs now available, at one point in time, it was the one performance SUV most consumers turned to.

The Origins Of The Chevy Blazer

Chevy started to build its C/K line of pickups back in 1959 (taking over for the Chevy Task Force, which started in 1955) with the 1960 model year release. The first editions of the C/K very much took style notes from the older trucks, although over the years, the first-generation C/K pickup started to take shape and shift away from the rounded, often unnecessarily bulky look of the Task Force design. By the time the second-generation C/K pickup came around in 1967, it had a more modern look. It is this second generation Chevy C/K that the Blazer latched itself to.

Chevy wanted to introduce a full-size SUV that uses many of the same features as a pickup and yet wasn’t a passenger-centered SUV like the Suburban. Known as the Chevy K5 Blazer at the time, it uses a two-door design but did have a back seat. The front seat would lean forward by pulling a small release on the back of the seat (this was a popular design that the other leading SUV of the time, the Ford Bronco, also used).

The K5 at the time also offered a convertible option where the back end of the SUV could be removed. This essentially converted it into a convertible pickup, although the “bed” featured carpeting and other designer features you’d find on the interior of an SUV.

The Second Generation

The second generation is when the K5 Blazer really started to take shape. The first generation used a smaller wheelbase, giving it a smaller physical appearance. The larger wheel positioning and upgraded size matched the shift in the new Chevy C/K pickup of the time as well. The second generation came with a standard 4.1L I6, although there were a number of engine upgrade options, including a 6.6L V8 and a 6.2L Detroit Diesel V8. Chevy also stopped the production of the convertible option in 1975. Instead, it opted for a two-tone design, giving it an almost pickup with a topper look.

The second generation for the K5 Blazer was especially long. Starting out in 1973, the generational line remained up until 1991. It did go through a number of facelifts over the time, with a new grille coming out every few years.

A blue 1969 Chevy K5 Blazer is towing a camper on a dirt trail near Albany, NY.

A Short Life Third Generation

The Blazer’s third generation came about in 1992, and it was not long for this world. The K5 Blazer was renamed the K1500 Blazer. Chevy had recently faded out the old C/K pickup and replaced it with the Chevy Silverado 1500. As the Blazer was built on the same line, the company decided to shift the name as well, which is why it took on the title of K1500 Blazer.

The K1500 Blazer came with just two engine options: the 5.7L V8 and the 6.2L Detroit Diesel V8. However, the third generation lasted just three years, with the 1994 model year serving as its last. The Chevy Tahoe took over for the SUV in 1995 and has remained the second larger SUV offered by Chevy ever since (just behind the Suburban).

More Than The K5

For a time there was more than one Blazer available. The original K5 Blazer was designed off of the full-size C/K pickup. Chevy also had a smaller truck known as the Chevy S10. It was a lightweight pickup and smaller in stature. Chevy had success with converting the C/K pickup into an SUV, so it decided to do the same with the S10. It did so by creating the S10 Blazer. The very first generation of the Chevy S10 Blazer came out with the 1982 production year.

Unlike the K5, though, the S10 Blazer came in two different door-sizes. The first was the more traditional two-door look, and the second was a four-door body style (the four-door design came out a decade into the first generation’s run, so from 1982 to 1990, you could only find it as a two-door). It also did not offer the removable hardtop that the larger K5 offered.

By the end of the S10 Blazer’s first-generation run, it had dramatically increased in size, offering the full four-door vehicle design and an extended rear end for additional cargo space.

The second generation came out with the 1995 model year. However, it did ditch the S10 name. Chevy was moving away from its older C/K and S10 pickups and moving in a new direction. The S10 did still have a few years left (the Colorado didn’t replace it until the 2004 model year), but Chevy wanted the Blazer to stand out on its own. Plus, as the larger K1500 Blazer had been fazed out for the Tahoe, it didn’t need to distinguish one Blazer from the other.

The second-generation Blazer continued its offering as both a two-door and a four-door SUV. It also offered a brand new trim: the TrailBlazer. The TrailBlazer was such a popular trim offering that Chevy eventually spun it off into its own vehicle in 2001.

With the 2005 model year, Chevy called it quits on the Blazer. The Chevy Equinox took over for the Blazer as the mid-size crossover SUV.


Chevy TrailBlazer

A red 2021 Chevy Trailblazer is parked on a cobble stone road.

While the last of the “Blazers” had ended, the TrailBlazer did have some life left. The first generation came out with the 2001 model year, so for a few years, both the Blazer and TrailBlazer were offered at the same time. The first generation lasted up until 2009. By 2009 the TrailBlazer’s sales had fallen off a cliff, going from over 110,000 units sold to just over 22,000 units sold. So Chevy put the kibosh on the TrailBlazer (although Chevy did bring it back in 2012 in select markets, such as Brazil and Thailand, where it is sold as the Holden Trailblazer).

The Return Of The Blazer

The Chevy Blazer has come out of retirement. The Chevy Equinox had taken over for the original S10 Blazer version to fill the mid-size crossover SUV need. When Chevy decided to restore the Blazer, it didn’t just discontinue the Equinox. Instead, it shifted the Equinox down to a small crossover SUV and restored the Blazer back to the mid-size segment. Even the Trailblazer is making a return as one of the upcoming vehicle releases from Chevy. So if you’re a fan of the classic nameplates, you are going to love both the Blazer and Trailblazer back together again.

Find Your Blazer Here At DePaula Chevy

If you haven’t yet checked out the all-new Chevy Blazer, you absolutely need to. The extended time away has only made our hearts fonder of this new update (and we can’t wait for the Trailblazer to hit as well). With all kinds of performance features, it may just be your next vehicle. So stop on by and visit us at DePaula Chevy. We’d love to see you and help put you in your next vehicle.

Posted in Chevy SUVs